Online Training Myths

Online training has been ‘the next big thing’ for more than a decade now. A lot has happened in that time, but not all in favor of its reputation. When we talk to trainers, we often hear they have to fight the myths that still exist about online training. Here are the 3 most encountered.

#1. It’s boring

I’m not sure “e-learning” will ever trigger a positive emotion with participants and I blame traditional, linear click-through presentations. Those compliance trainings or ‘management development’ trainings that consist of a couple of slides one goes through.
Preferably, they should also have a lecture with voice-overs in multiple languages. Oh can I have some multiple choice questions with that, for which the correct answer is always C?

Ok, I might be overreacting a bit. But I will not rest until those courses are extinct. Because those ‘elearnings’ make people skeptical to the exciting possibilities online training offers to make training fun. Think of how many people are addicted to Facebook or gaming and see that as an indicator of where online training could be headed. Because the right tools can make online training personal, challenging and social.

#2. It will (or should…) ‘automate’ training

Training consists of many activities and a lot of them can be brought online. More specifically, Competence comes with Knowledge, Attitude and Skill. And when it comes to Knowledge transfer, a good case can be made that this can and should be automated. A right answer is always right and a computer can check how someone’s scoring.

But when training means changing your Attitude or practicing your Skills, there will always be a trainer. There will always be that critical moment in which a participant realises that there might actually be a better way to do things. Or the feedback that an inexperienced peer simply cannot give and self-reflection does not provide.

In other words: online training does not mean that the job title Trainer will disappear. Quite the opposite. Online training might mean that the amount of time spent in the classroom training decreases (but honestly, who really thinks that’s a bad thing..?). But most of all, online training enables trainers to leverage their expertise in more and often more effective ways.

#3. It is less effective

Thinking of the ‘elearnings’ in #1 and yes, I agree. But a good online training module, used for the right reasons and the right context can be extremely effective. Usually even more so, when combined with other (face to face) learning activities as well.

Research in this area is still nascent, but the effectiveness of online training for knowledge has often been ‘proven’. Also, some experts we interviewed clearly agree that soft skills can effectively be trained online: Hans de Zwart, Wilfred Rubens, Marcel de Leeuwe.

I’m curious for your opinion on the myths surrounding online training. Let me know in the comments or contact us! Want to get updates about this blog or online training of soft skills in general, sign-up for our newsletter!

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